Welcome to The Oak!

The Oak is an online newsletter-website for sharing content among the Arts and Sciences Community of the SCA Kingdom of Atlantia. Our focus is pre-1600CE era history from all around the world. Contributions are welcome from anyone supporting the Society for Creative Anachronism. Please see the Contributions Guidelines for details.

Most recent articles are published below in the center. To the left are options for finding previous articles according to category or tag.

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Most Recent Articles

  • We’re all in this together: Ethical Research and Documentation for SCAdians
    By The Honorable Lady Gwenhwyfar Weale Since joining the SCA I’ve come to realize that one of the most fraught topics in the Arts and Sciences community revolves around how to effectively research and communicate findings with others through competition, display, and publication. It is my intention to provide you, dear reader, with some thoughts…
  • A brief history of western cryptography through the Middle Ages
     By Melchior zum grauen Wolf, OP  (mka Kevin Baun)  Alberti cipher. (2024, January 9). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberti_cipher  The Oxford dictionary defines the word cipher as “a secret or disguised way of writing”. A cipher  is overt, it doesn’t try to hide that it is a cipher. The job of a cipher isn’t to disguise information …
  • Outfitting an Equine (namely Bingo: The Clothes Horse)
    by Epy Pengelly, Armiger Photo by Tim Baird At the Barony of Stierbach’s Holiday Faire 2023, The Honorable Lady Arielle de Pontoise taught an edifying class “The Elegant Equine: Garbing Your Horse with Style”. THL Arielle has been in the SCA for over 30 years, and has made about a dozen different outfits for various…
  • A Torte of Domestic Pumpkin without a Shell or Crustless Pumpkin Cheese Torte
    By Maîtresse Scholastica Joycors This recipe comes from the famous Italian chef Bartolomeo Scappi – Opera di Bartolomeo Scappi (1570). This desert is a cross between a cheesecake and a crustless pumpkin pie it is heavily spiced and delightful to eat with some freshly whipped creme. Bartolomeo Scappi (1500 to 1577 A.D.) was a famous…
  • Adding salt during the soap-making process to make potassium hydroxide soaps harder
    By Matthew of Summerdale I took a class on saponification at the Summer 2023 Atlantian University by Lucia de Moranza from Ealdormere.  Taking this class led me to start to do some soap making.  While I have started with modern soap making methods and processes, I have started looking at period soap making.  One technique…
  • Five Minute Art History: Gleaning Style
    By Hlaford Bran Mydwynter Our concept of “style” didn’t coalesce until the Renaissance. However, when you’re making something based on historical artwork, it’s helpful to be able to glean its style to better capture the true spirit of the original. But that’s a skill developed over time, and there’s no shortcut. Which is why I’ve…
  • Topkapi Palace: The Sultan Costume Collection Exhibit
    by Lady Sof’ia Dolgorukaia On a recent visit to Istanbul, Turkey, I visited the Topkapi Palace, home of the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to the 19th Century. The Palace had an exhibit “The Sultan Costume Collection.” The exhibit included extant clothing worn by the Sultans, their wives, and their children.  Below are some photos…
  • On the Road
    by Herrin Clara Hutmacher Herrin Clara is a Pearl of diverse arts living in the “shire of wonders,” Roxbury Mill. She is mostly known for making large late-period German hats. A cinquain for the “anything but a haiku” challenge. Examples of cinquains can be found in many European languages, and the origin of the form…
  • Wax Tablets: Period and Modern Constructions
    By Sir Odde ap Tam I first encountered wax tablets at an event in Atlantia where there was a merchant selling them.  I became enamored of the idea and after a very brief amount of research, realized how useful, practical, and prevalent they were throughout history.  I’ve made several wax tablets over the years, usually…
  • A Period Laurel Ceremony: Adapting the Laurel Ceremony of Francesco Petrarca
    By Dame Deirdre O’Siodhachain This article originally appeared in The Oak #13. It is has been edited and updated by the author. “There are, of course, ambitions that are wholly selfish, but no one would contend that the poet’s desire for fame is necessarily of this nature. The laurel is a world-old symbol of victory,…

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